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Our History


It was the year 1967.  The year of the world’s first successful human heart transplant, the debut of the Big Mac, and the discovery of the largest emerald in the world.  Two young veterinary medical students trekked north to Elizabeth, Illinois, excited to spend their summer interning with Dr. Donald E. Smith (ISU 1954).  Little did these two aspiring veterinarians know their futures would lie with this veterinary practice.   Within two years of graduation, Dr. Chester Rawson and Dr. Roger Peterson (both IL 1968) were hired as veterinarians.  The doctors knew the need for high quality veterinary medical care was increasing in northwestern Illinois.  Thus, in 1969, along Highway 20 in Galena, IL, a new clinic was born.  A name was needed to reflect the expansion and exploration of new lands.  Pioneer Veterinary Clinics was christened and the three veterinarians shared duties between the two communities and the surrounding areas. 


In January of 1972, Pioneer Veterinary Clinics continued its expedition northward and the practice of Dr. Dave Schickel in Hazel Green, WI was purchased.  With a new clinic addition, a new doctor, Dr. Harry Whitlock (IL 1972), was hired in June of 1972.  Dr. Whitlock worked out of the original Elizabeth practice.  One year after the expansion of Pioneer Veterinary Clinics, the decision was made to separate the Elizabeth practice from the Galena and Hazel Green practices.  Drs. Peterson and Rawson took over the Galena and Hazel Green practices, naming the new business Veterinary Associates.  Drs. Smith and Whitlock continued to operate Pioneer Veterinary Clinics in Elizabeth.


As Veterinary Associates continued to grow and expand services, other young veterinarians migrated to northwestern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin to begin their veterinary medical careers.   Historically, the Hazel Green practice has maintained a predominantly dairy medicine focus.  The Galena portion of the practice has been more dynamic as there has been an increased emphasis on the small animal and equine disciplines of veterinary practice.  In March of 2014, a new building was erected to better serve our increasing small animal population. There was no waste; the old clinic was ground up and became the driveway in front of the new Galena clinic.  


With over 40 years of continuous service to clients in northwestern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin, Veterinary Associates looks forward to a bright future serving our growing clientele and their animals. 

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